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Nuclear not a clear or right choice

The Hamilton Spectator: Peter Ormond - April 23, 2009

Re: 'Nuclear right choice for electricity' (Letters, April 20)

According to the letter writer, nuclear power is a reliable electricity option for Ontario. Let's look at the facts.

First, in 1998, seven of Ontario's nuclear reactors were shut down for safety reasons. All were out of service for more than five years. Three are still shut down.

Second, as a result of our heavy dependency on unreliable CANDU nuclear reactors, it took Ontario more than eight days to fully recover from the August 2003 blackout. On the other hand, New York State returned its power system to normal in less than two days.

Third, in May 2008, Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. scrapped its two new Maple medical isotope reactors at a cost of $500 million to Canadian taxpayers. While the reactors were more or less complete, a design flaw makes it impossible to safely control the nuclear activity within them.

It was hydroelectricity which made the now defunct Ontario Hydro a once-great company. It was high-cost, unreliable CANDU nuclear reactors that bankrupted it.

As a professional engineer and MBA, I find the nuclear "clean and green spin" unbelievable from virtually every economic, societal and environmental perspective. This includes each stage of uranium mining, processing, power generation, decommissioning and waste management.

At The Spectator's Science in the City presentation in February, a McMaster University nuclear spin doctor indicated "no deaths" resulted from the Chernobyl accident of April 26, 1986. Compare this statement with The Battle of Chernobyl, a film on YouTube, and you'll appreciate the alarming distance from the truth.

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